Confession: I have never had good skin. Since puberty I have been managing, covering, or obsessing over new breakouts. I got a brief respite from this in my twenties when I was having and nursing babies. I was relieved that the pregnancy hormones did in fact provide the “glow” I was promised. But as soon as I stopped breastfeeding each of my kids and my hormones normalized, my skin returned to its normal state. After having my last baby at age 28, my skin got drastically worse. The bright side to all of this is that I was forced to take my skincare seriously, and now it is a part of my day I thoroughly enjoy.
Dry skin in the winter
Any dry skin sufferers out there? In the cooler months, my skin is notoriously dry. The little makeup I wear clings to the texture on my face and I feel like I am constantly reapplying moisturizer. This is exacerbated by outdoor exercise in freezing temperatures. And don’t even get me started on “masc-ne”—a phrase born out of acne suffering mask-wearers during COVID. During the winter months, my skincare routine looks completely different than the summer, when my skin gives a whole new meaning to the word “dewy”.
Dewy skin is in…right?
Remember when I said I was dry in the winter? I have the opposite problem in warmer months. Maybe it’s that I have crossed the threshold into my thirties, but warmer temperatures seems to mean an excess of oil for me—and not just in my t-zone. Thank goodness that the current makeup trends are pro-glow, but I take it to a whole new level when I feel like I constantly need to wash my face.
Skincare and diet
I visited a dermatologist recently. I highly recommend this for well-checks, but it is a must-do if you are having skin issues and can’t seem to get to the root of it. Recently, my dermatologist recommended that I cut back on alcohol and sweets, especially near my cycle. The sweets thing is pretty much a non-starter at that time of the month, but I did cut alcohol out to see if it made a difference. My husband and I limit our enjoyment of beer to the weekends, and I can always tell that I have had alcohol come Monday because it causes my rosacea to flare up. For some, dairy is a big trigger. I am not the best at reigning in what I eat, but I have noticed that it helps.
Serums, Sunscreen, and Moisturizers—OH MY!
A few months ago I started getting into serums after a friend recommended them. I consulted a very reputable source (see: TikTok) about how to use these and slowly worked them into my routine. I learned that young people today care about premature aging way more than I ever did, and I started wearing SPF every day. (I know I am not the only woman on this blog who lathered myself in baby oil as a teenager. Apparently sunburn is no longer “in.”) In all seriousness, protecting your skin is super important but it can be tricky when you have temperamental skin that doesn’t like a lot of the ingredients in sunscreen. For me, it was difficult to find moisturizers with sunscreen that didn’t cause flareups, so I opted for SPF to wear under my regular moisturizer.
Read the labels
If you notice that your skin is routinely bothered by a certain product you are putting on your face, start paying attention to labels. Thankfully, there are countless options for clean makeup and skincare these days. The prices and accessibility of these products range from drug-store to special order, but I find everything I need between Amazon, Target, Ulta, and Sephora. Fortunately, there are lots of options for clean makeup as well. It takes a bit of trial and error if you are super sensitive, but it is worth figuring out what works. One thing I have learned in this process: Save your receipts.
Caring for my skin properly felt like a huge burden to me for a while. I have three young kids, we are in a pandemic, and honestly who cares? This mentality wasn’t serving me well, as I realized I was often self-conscious during my intense flareups—not to mention uncomfortable. I wanted to feel confident in my skin and not experience constant discomfort. Now that it is a habit, I can honestly say I look forward to my morning and evening skincare routine. It is clean, quiet, smells good, and is good for me!
As a part of my skincare routine, I wash my face in the morning and at night. I get very oily throughout the day and this helps. I exfoliate gently about once per week and use a medicated wash prescribed by my dermatologist twice per week. Here are some of the face washes I love!
*Pro tip: When taking off makeup in the evening, I always double cleanse.
Hydrating cleanser (great for winter)
Foaming facial cleanser for oily/combo skin
My new favorite oily skin cleanser
Milky Cleanser (great for morning)
Products I love for the morning
I don’t use all of the products featured in these pictures every day. I alternate them based on my needs. I always start by cleansing my face. After my morning cleanse, I apply my serums. Serums work best when applied to damp skin. I start with this Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid. Once that is mostly dry, go in with my Niacinamide serum. Then I apply my favorite moisturizer. This one does not have an SPF so I add that as my last step. There are lots of great options with SPF as well. Be sure your face isn’t still damp before applying makeup! (I have made this mistake.) And don’t forget sunscreen for the kids!
Products I love for evening
Again, I tend to change out what I use but my skincare routine at night is pretty simple. Every fourth night (or so), I apply a retinol serum. Every night, I apply this calming night serum, which works beautifully when I am having a rosacea flareup. To finish off my routine, I use this moisturizer. It is lightweight and always makes my skin feel super smooth. Pro tip: I also sleep with a silk pillowcase which helps the skin (and hair) to retain moisture overnight.
And bonus: It is working! Stay tuned for Part 2 on clean makeup for sensitive skin!